Maryland Outdoor Club
Fri, Mar 30 2007 - Assateague Backpacking Weekend (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Colin Babb
Participants:Colin Babb, Jim Polfer, Joe John, Kathryn Bright, KC Yi, Jennifer Carey, Kevin Yue

Write Up:
Although the evenings were cold, if it helped at all with the fact that there were no bugs to be seen at all during the whole weekend, the trip ended up having perfect weather and conditions. The word Assateague is listed in the Oxford English Dictionary as originating from an old Powhatan word meaning “Great Womb of Six-legged Stinging Devils” (or, so I heard). So it was very nice for all concerned that on this weekend our little friends the mosquitoes were fortunately still in their larval stage. On the first night we received a very early visit, however, from one of the ponies (variously dubbed Humphrey or George) who first took an interest in a tube of toothpaste, and then the marshmallows originally intended for the weekend’s smores. (As we were returning to our cars on Sunday, Jim had words with Humphrey—who was still sheepishly hanging around the scene of the crime—about his malfeasance.)

The hiking down the beach to the campsite went very well, and very quickly—we did about 10 miles in just under four hours the first day and just over four hours the second. The sand right in the surf zone—with the water literally lapping at our feet—made for a perfect walking surface for both sandals and bare feet. Other than one or two others, we were the only ones traveling down the beach on foot. There were plenty of people on horseback—on “domesticated” horses—and lots of pickups and SUVs filled with people trying (mostly unsuccessfully, we discovered upon asking) to catch fish. (They must have been Unionist fish, since they seemed to stay away from all the trucks flying the Confederate flag.) Once we got to the campsite on the bay side, most folks decided to take a nap after setting up tents. Joe and Jen went off to find a sandal Jen had lost farther back up the beach (resulting in the weekend’s one April Fool’s joke…). A short time later, our only neighbor for the night appeared, Chip from Gambrills. He appeared out of the woods rather suddenly, but it turned out he had kayaked down from the ferry landing near where we had begun that morning.

After chopping up what seemed like a tree’s worth of dead wood, we had plenty of fuel for a good fire. We got up the next morning to the weekend’s only rainfall, but luckily it stopped by the time we were ready to go and it didn’t rain again for the rest of the way back. Everyone managed to catch site of plenty of ponies on the way (except Kathryn of course). When we got back, we stopped at Outback for a calorie-replenishing meal of ribs and steak…it seemed an appropriate ending.

--Colin Babb

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